What Lies Beneath

V3C17 & 18 - The House of the Dead

Wherein the Nine do battle with the Emerald Claw and retrieve the third of the Destiny Arms

Following the Stillborn assassination/kidnapping attempt in Pylas Talaer (wherin Rooster gave his life in defense of his friends), the party answered a summons to the Undying Court of Shae Mordai, the gathering of ancient ancestors whose divine might guides the elves of Aerenal. Accompanying them would be Liara Ghostmantle and Fenian Vale, a renowned elven warrior and member of the Cairdal Blades. Wasting no time, the party set out as soon as transport was ready. Unsurprisingly, the vampire Veldris made a second attempt on the party, this time sneaking aboard their ship in the dead of night with a sorcerous ally and releasing a slew of red glittering motes in the hold. Just as the party leapt to the attack, the motes exploded, killing Angladen. Howling in rage at the loss of their friend, the party made short work of the sorcerer, and Thane turned his attention to the vampiress. Thinking quickly, he ensnared her with a Control Undead spell, and demanded she not resist.

In the questioning that followed, she revealed that she had been sent to retrieve Gildor by the Lady Vol herself. She was to take him to the ancient family estate of House Vol, there to await the arrival of the Queen of the Dead. When asked why, her response was decidedly chilling. “Because, your grandmother wishes to speak with you, Aldanae d’Vol. She would make you a prince among her legions.” Gildor considered the offer for a moment, and promptly drove a stake through the vampire’s heart. Gathering up their friends and the fallen, the party elected not to risk another assassination attempt, and teleported directly to Shae Mordai.

The City of the Dead proved to be every bit as eerie as one would expect from the name. Undying soldiers patrolled its walls, and undying councilors held court throughout the city. On every exposed surface was graven the complete history of the elves, and written on every cobblestone stretched the lineages of these ancient people. From all about the hushed city could be heard the sonorous chanting of the Priests of Transition, venerating the dead and preparing the way for the fallen. At the center of the city stood a massive zigguraut, the home of the Undying Court. It was to here that the party was escorted.

Within, the Ascendant Councilors spoke with the party, and revealed why they had summoned Gildor here. He did indeed bear the Mark of Death, the ancient dragonmark of House Vol, long beleived wiped from existance. The Court had been watching him for some time now, and had determined that the mark had not (yet) corrupted him. His deeds and motives over the past many years had spared him from summary execution at the hands of these ancient beings, and indeed, may yet allow the fallen house a new chance. The Court knew full well the task ahead of the Nine, and gave their blessing unto them. Additionally, they confirmed that Eternity’s Reach lie deep in the Madwood, in the ruins of the House of Vol. Their audience concluded, the Court gave a benediction to each of the assembled heroes, each save Thane. For Thane, they instead had one more revelation: Tytalos yet lived, and Thane would see him again soon.

With this, the party took their leave of the Court, and took a day to rest in Shae Mordai before heading to the Madwood, the twisted and warped forest where the Stillborn made their home. A quick teleport from Thane saw them at the far eastern side of the wood, a day’s journey from where the ruins supposedly lay. Setting into the twisted woods, the party was expecting anything. Anything but the small halfling and large tyrannosaur they met shortly upon entering. The halfling’s name was Sunrock, and he claimed that Eberron had sent him to the await the group here. She called out in pain, and these adventurers were at the heart of it. He had no idea what they were up to, but he knew he must aid them. Shrugging, the party accepted his aid. The Prophecy wills as it wills.

The madwood proved to be an utterly horrific journey, the forest warped by the close energies of the planes of Night and Chaos. After numerous disturbing encounters, the party opted to perform some aerial scouting. Thane eventually spotted the entrance to the ruins, and Sunrock called upon the spirits of the air to take the party swiftly there. The ruins were far from abandoned however, and the party was forced to deal with several Stillborn and a host of traps to make their way through them. at the bottom of the ruins lay a massive well, etched in runes. As the party entered the room with the well, the massive gates swung shut, and a monstrous form emerged. Great skeletal claws, encrusted with glittering jewels, gripped the edges of the well, and slowly a colossal skeletal dragon pulled itself from the well. “Who are you that dares trespass on the lair of the Emerald Claw? Who dares disturb me? You have the stink of the deathless about you. DIEEEEEE.” With that, battle was joined.

It was a fierce and brutal fight, and one that ended with Gildor lying unconscious on the ground and Fenian and Sunrock extremely wounded. Not once but twice did they have to do battle with the great dracolich, its rotting body continually reanimated by the necromantic powers that kept it from the Keeper’s grasp. Fenian’s slashing blades, Thane’s mighty magics, Thomas’s vicious fists, Gildor’s piercing arrows, and Sunrock’s elemental blows proved too much for the great dracolich, however, and it eventually fell long enough for Thane to grab its phylactery and make a run for the Sphere of Annihilation in the upper reaches of the ruin.

With the ancient dragon felled, Liara was able to heal Gildor, who then took Eternity’s Reach in hand. The third of the Destiny Arms had been found.

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Shyft

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